How To Set Up A Montessori Toddler Environment At Home
Setting up the environment is a crucial element of the Montessori Method, regardless of whether it is in a home or school. The good news is that creating an effective Montessori toddler environment is completely achievable and it can be designed to fit the needs of any family.
That said, it is true that setting up your toddler’s Montessori environment also means redesigning your own spaces, which can be a challenge for some parents. Because doing this right is no easy task, we’ve come up with a guide on how to set up an ideal Montessori environment for your little one at home.
How To Incorporate Montessori Principles At Home
Here Is How You Can Incorporate Montessori Principles At Home:
- Allow them to take part in daily life activities
Young kids enjoy being involved in day-to-day activities such as cleaning, doing laundry, food preparation, setting the table, grocery shopping, and so on.
2. The importance of hands-on learning
It is important to give your little ones concrete experiences that will allow them opportunities to make discoveries on their own
3. Slow down
Instead of planning out everything, try to be more flexible and simply explore with your little one at the pace that they are comfortable with. Allow time for conversation, movement, and repetition of activities as they learn a new skill.
4. Avoid using bribes, punishments, and rewards
It may be tempting to use extrinsic motivators such as rewards, bribes, and even punishments to motivate your child to learn new skills, but the Montessori philosophy strongly discourages these techniques. Instead, it upholds instilling internal motivation in children so that they can learn to push themselves to put in their best efforts in whatever they do.
5. Provide guidance only where it is needed
As a parent, you want to give your child help only when they need it. Try to avoid bossing them around or helping them at every step of the way as this will only serve to derail their learning.
6. Be understanding and patient
Every child is different, so it is important to understand that outcomes of learning tend to vary. Try to see things from your little one’s perspective – be patient and acknowledge how they feel to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
7. Respect your little one
Speak to your child as you would with an adult, and listen to them whenever they have something to say.
8. Opt to make objective observations
Keenly observe how your little one moves, communicates, interacts with others, and carries out activities. This way, you will know what works for them and what doesn’t.
How To Create A Montessori Environment For Babies
It is never too early to introduce Montessori to your little one. Here is how you can incorporate Montessori when you have a baby:
- Choose A Simple Mobile
While you might be tempted to go for bright and colorful mobiles that come with all sorts of eye-catching bells and whistles, choose a simple black and white mobile instead. This is because high contrast images appeal to babies and are much less likely to overstimulate them.
- Hang A Mirror At Their Level
Place a well-secured mirror at a low level to allow your little one to observe his/her movements and gradually realize that they are looking at themselves.
- Put Toys Within Their Reach
At around 6 to 12 months, consider starting to put Montessori sensory toys within your baby’s reach so that he/she can shake and otherwise explore with their sense (touch things that have different textures, for instance)
How To Create A Montessori Environment for Toddlers
With toddlers, you want the environment you create to allow them to actively take part in home life.
- Invest In A Montessori Bed
If your toddler sleeps in a crib, consider transitioning them to a floor bed or any other similar Montessori low-to-the-ground bed that will allow them to effortlessly get in and out of bed without your help.
- Declutter The Room
A minimalist environment is one of the key components of a Montessori environment. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by installing Montessori organization furniture or even Montessori shelving. Have a few things on the shelf at a time and keep the rest in storage, rotating them out every so often.
- Use Step Stools
A couple of well-placed stools in the home are great for boosting your little one’s independence. A stool in the bathroom will allow your toddler to reach the sink on their own and wash their hands, face, and perform other self-care tasks. Similarly, a step tool or learning tower in the kitchen will allow your child to participate in basic cooking activities.
- Invest In A Potty Chair
Help your toddler gradually transition from wearing diapers to using a child-sized potty that they can comfortably get on and off by themselves. This is a great way to foster confidence and independence in your child.
How To Create A Montessori Environment For School-aged Children
School-aged children are more independent than toddlers and babies – and their environment should aptly reflect this.
- Allow Your Child To Help Out With Various Tasks
Have your child participate in tasks at home. To encourage this, consider setting up child-friendly stations with all the materials and tools that they need to help out. In the kitchen, for instance, you will want to set up a cooking station with child-sized utensils that your little one can easily grip in their hands and use. Similarly, to get them out in the garden, invest in child-sized gardening tools.
- Minimize Screen Time
It is recommended that you keep screen time for school-aged children to a minimum, opting to encourage them to interact and play outdoors instead.
- Ensure Clothes Cre Accessible
Whether you use baskets, drawers, or shelves, ensure that you keep clothing on your little one’s level to allow them to effortlessly pick out outfits and dress.
Setting up a Montessori environment for your child at home can be quite a challenge especially if you are still new to the Montessori method. Whether you have a baby, a toddler, or even a school-aged child, the tips covered in this article will come in handy to help you create that perfect Montessori environment for your child.
In the end, even if your little one is not enrolled in a Montessori school, having a Montessori space at home will have a huge positive impact on their overall growth and development.